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LOOSE  ENDS
IV
We mentioned above that the impartial Englishman would
\\ish for an honest answer to the question, "Why is it that some
of the States, in literacy, industrial development, etc., show MI
marked a superiority to most of British India ? * There is no hard
and fast answer to this question. The Congress answer, of course,,
is that the rule of the States, bad as it may be, is at least better
than the rule of the British, on the principle that a bad Indian
despot is better than a good British Civil Servant. This is a
travesty of the facts ; the true answer is far more complex and, if
given in its entirety, would involve us in a long-drawn-out historical
survey. Speaking generally we may say chat the States, when
they show any special excellence., owe it to a period of benevolent
autocracy. Mysore is a case in point. The British treaty with thi^
State dates from 1799 and during the most crucial years of its
development the rulers were minors. By a fortunate circumstance
their British tutors happened to be men of exceptional enlighten-
c ment; not only did they personally mould the policy of the State
during the minorities but by imprinting their ideas on the rnind&
of the young Maharajahs, they extended their influence through
their whole lives, so that the so-called * despots,3 when they canie
to rule for themselves, ruled more like old-fashioned liberals than
oriental tyrants.
Again, the suggestion that Mysore's advanced industrial pro-
gress reflects unfavourably on the backwardness of British India
will not bear serious examination. To a very large extent it it*
due to a series of happy natural accidents, of which the two most
notable are the temperate climate—the finest in India—and the
existence of water-power on a scale that has made possible an
immense development of hydro-electric power.
What has been said of Mysore is also true, by and large, of
Baroda, whose late Gaekwar was a man of brilliant parts, who
showed a passionate interest in his people's welfare throughout
his long reign.
t Travancore and Cochin are often quoted, by Congress propa-
gandists, as examples of what might be done in India if only the*
British would quit, for tlic literacy of these States is respectively